Logan Webb’s day did not start well. It also did not end well. But in between? Well, in between it was nothing short of marvelous, and quite arguably the best MLB start of his career.
Webb’s start — which only happened because the San Francisco Giants placed Aaron Sanchez on the Injured List — began by allowing a one-out single and a walk, with a wild pitch and passed ball thrown in there for good measure. He then allowed a very hard hit ground ball that Brandon Crawford appeared to brilliantly turn into a double play.
But the Texas Rangers challenged the call (as they did three times in the first four innings), and roughly 18 hours later, the umps overturned it (as they did three times in the first four innings). A run was scored, and Webb trotted back to the mound with a cold arm, only to walk the next batter on four pitches.
He didn’t have it.
Webb’s day ended when he came out to start the seventh inning, fell behind David Dahl 3-0, and eventually gave up a long home run.
But in between he retired 16 of 18 batters, with 10 coming by way of strikeout, setting a new career high. He found rhythm. He missed bats. He didn’t get hit hard. He didn’t throw a lot of pitches.
And, at the behest of his veteran catchers, he worked quickly.
Posey and Casali pulled Webb aside early in the game and told him it would be good to up his pace, ala Alex Wood. He said he'll never be able to pitch that fast but he did increase the tempo and it worked well.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) May 11, 2021
It might have been the best he’s ever looked, which is so impressive given how rough the start of the game was for him.
And after a poor start to the season, it’s now clear that the Giants can trust Webb to be a spot starter when pitchers hit the IL in the future which, given the injury history of their rotation, will likely keep happening.
The Giants didn’t have a good offensive game, but they backed up their young pitcher immediately, recouping the run he gave up before they had recorded an out. Mike Tauchman led off the bottom of the first with a walk — one of three he would work on the night — and Mike Yastrzemski doubled him home with the only extra-base hit of the game for the Giants.
Just two batters after Webb’s long and stressful first inning, the Giants had given him a tied game again. Two batters later they’d give him the lead, courtesy of a run-scoring single by Brandon Belt.
It’s impossible to quantify how much those types of things matter, but the Giants being able to hand Webb a lead for the second inning had to have helped him settle down. Knowing his counterpart, Jordan Lyles, threw 34 first-inning pitches probably didn’t hurt, either.
The Giants would add some insurance runs in the sixth inning courtesy of forever Giant Charlie Culberson. Culberson may have only knocked in one run during his MLB debut season in 2012, but his two-out, two-run error gave the Giants a 4-1 lead, a day after he had a one-run error. Culberson has, quite literally, provided more Giants offense in this series than he did during the entirety of his time wearing a Giants jersey.
That 4-1 lead gave Webb a chance to pitch the seventh, but Gabe Kapler pulled him as soon as he allowed the homer. From there it was Camilo Doval, Caleb Baragar, Zack Littell, and Jake McGee who handled business, allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk, and securing a 4-2 win. Doval and McGee both pitched quite well, and it was good to see them get opportunities to find their groove after some rough recent outings.
The Giants are now 22-14, which is ... well, it’s a really good record.
They’ll sleep well for tomorrow’s off day.